… Ah! Finally, I’ve gotten my hands on Ques Q’s version of Menma. She has been on my radar for so many months (a December 2012 release) but did not pre-order her. Why? First, I’ve never had a Ques Q figure before, so I was a little weary. Plus, I’ve heard negative feedback about Ques Q’s reduced quality of their released figures. Meaning, they don’t really live up to their promotional pictures and their quality of figures over the past months have been going downhill. And, people were right about that. I’m glad I did not pre-order her on full price. But — this Menma is so adorable! You’ll see.
Yes! This Menma comes with two facial expressions and I love both of them. The box design is “meh” and very average. The box comes with instructions on how to change her facial expression. Don’t worry, it’s an easy process.
I’m sure you can spot the differences between the original illustration and the final product, but I’d say it’s pretty good. If the hair was closer to the illustration that would be perfect! I love thin fly away hairs, but I guess that also means that she’ll be more expensive. I’m glad that her smiley face is almost an exact representation of the illustration.
Menma’s regular facial expression has a very sincere, sweet, and kind look to it. It does have a Menma vibe to it, but I think it lacks a bit of vibrancy. Whenever I think of Menma, I always picture the very energetic and happy side of her (hence, we have a 2nd face) and these eyes are just, I guess, a bit too soft. It’s not really a complaint. I’m just talking to myself 😛
Do note that her eyelashes are kind of embossed. I find that interesting, adds some 3D effect to her eyes. I think the artist (Yuma) likes thick embossed eyelashes because s/he sculpted Ques Q’s newest Taiga Aisaka with similar eyes as well.
If you look under her chin/jaw, you’ll see some rough seam lines and her jaw looks a bit warped. A little disappointed, but this is something I usually expect since most companies tend to make flat and narrow jaws.
Looking from the side, you see huge, HUGE, seam lines! I had a small mental gasp when I initially saw that. I almost wanted to cry mentally. Well, I guess it could be worse, but I wish they did a better job. Other than the obvious seam lines, Menma does have a nice side view. Her pointy nose and sculpted lips are very cute and natural looking.
The face changing process is actually very easy! At first I was a little nervous, afraid that I may break something in between, but nothing went bad. Just pretend as if Menma is a Nendoroid or something. The head & neck doesn’t actually come off, only the face and both front/back of the hair does.
Menma’s smiley face is really adorable and captivating. That’s Menma’s smile 🙂 It almost makes you want to giggle along with her. Surprisingly, her open mouth is actually very well sculpted! Bravo to the artist. I appreciate these sort of efforts, instead of just coloring in the flat mouth with a dark flesh pink color.
Not sure if you’ve noticed by now, but her hair is rough in all aspects. The finish is not smooth at all (it’s very clay-like, but not as bad as you think) and there are seam lines everywhere which are not noticeable until you look at the hair from the side or underneath (where all the seam lines are to be expected). I made it sound very bad, but it’s not that bad. Acceptable in my standards. I guess my expectations were too high thanks to their near-perfect deceiving promo shots.
Also, the transition from opaque to clear is very poor (and it seems like they shortened the length of the clear bits). In her promotional shots, the gradient was a lot smoother. Instead, we get this sort of abrupt change of color and transparency that is somewhat disappointing. On top of that, this only applies to the back hair strands. The front and sides almost have near to no gradient at all. I was really hoping the transparency gradient wouldn’t be screwed up.
Not to mention, the shape of the hair strands on her left side did not live up to the promo shots as well. They are crooked and looked weighed down by… humidity or something (like our hair in real life, haha).
I actually have received the figure with the S-shape strand of hair deformed and tucked underneath her nearby hair. I didn’t realize this until I finished taking pictures and I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Luckily the strand was somewhat flexible and managed to lift it out and rest it against her flock of hair, otherwise, it’ll naturally want to go back under her hair.
One positive thing I do like about the hair is how accurately represented her bangs are. Most companies give Menma a very awkward fringe which I cannot describe, but the artist did a good job here. Also, I am completely in love with the hair flow. Looks alive and embracing the wind.
And at least Ques Q did not screw up the flower on her head. Interestingly, they changed the angle of the flower facing towards the front now.
Alrighty, onto the happier stuff. Her dress was at least well replicated from the original Garage Kit which was originally beautifully sculpted and almost flawless in my opinion. Ques Q did manage to get the flow of the dress right and the way how her arms/legs are positioned. She looks like she’s dancing and twirling around ^^
Also, those folds in the dress! Really like the way how everywhere just folds naturally where it’s supposed to be. Around her waist where she’s twisting and the rest of her upper body. The bottom of the skirt just flares out so nicely.
Her arms and legs (including palms and toes) are actually nicely sculpted as well. They’re very cute and realistic to her real body. Her nails are covered with a clear gloss that are sloppily painted on.
What I did not appreciate was the lack of detail on the frills (shoulder, collar) and her ribbon. They look kind of melted, rough, and the quality of the sculpt is almost comparable to FuRyu’s prize figures. Just refer back to the promotional picture and you’ll see what I mean. Also, notice the seam line right around her armpit area. It’s so rough and obvious when you’re close up, but I guess that’s not an issue if you’re looking at her at shelf distance.
What you couldn’t see was paint issues (or dirt?). When I received Menma, she had mysterious tiny tiny black dots here and there and I had to use my exactly knife to geeently scratch them away. I hate it when this happens. There was even one in the middle of the smiley face plate in between her eyes…
Oh, and of course, Menma is wearing white frilly panties.
And lastly, her base.
Really looks just like Kotobukiya’s base for their Menma… but I wouldn’t blame ’em for using the same idea. I mean, this is the staple flower for Ano Hana. Hey, I’m glad it’s not a round pink-orange dish instead!
So, my verdict?
Well, this is sure a rough one (pun intended).
If you are on a tight budget, I’d recommend looking at Alter’s version of Menma. She seems a little bit smoother in texture in comparison to Ques Q’s and a little more detailed. Not to mention, I do like her facial expression (the eyes are very loyal to her original character design) there. If I recall correctly, she seems to be around the same price (or a tiny bit more expensive) than Ques Q’s currently in bidding sites (such as Mandarake).
On the positive side though, I really love this Menma’s body pose. Makes her look so lively, adorable, and seems like she’s really enjoying her time (doing whatever she’s doing…). The hair (that kind of failed) and her 2 interchangeable facial expressions also lured me into buying her. She does have her charm here ^^
So, no, I did not regret my purchase. I love this Menma even though her quality is very average in comparison to other companies such as Max Factory.
I did learn something important though, after this purchase. Never pre-order Ques Q and wait for after market prices unless the figure is going to be popular & hard to find. I knew this Menma would be overshadowed by Alter’s version so her price would drop after release. She was also quite hard to find as well since not many people ordered her, so finding a pre-owned copy (and/or sealed) is going to be tough.
I think I’m going to create some sort of rating system which will help sum my points up :<
Sculpt finish : 7/10
Sculpt mold: 8/10
Representation of character: 9/10
Explanation of my rating system:
“Sculpt finish” specifically refers to the finish of the figure. Whether it’s perfect, smooth, rough or sandy.
“Sculpt mold” determines whether everything is sculpted to how it’s supposed to look. At its best, hair should have clean lines and pointy edges. Fingers do not look melted and feet do not look horrendous. Arms and legs should have definition and not look like straight piece of wood (unless it’s the style of the art). Also, seam lines should not be apparent as well.
“Paint” is pretty self explanatory. Paint should go wherever they were supposed to be painted on and should not have any spillovers.
“Representation of character” looks at whether the company and/or artist has accurately represented your character. Do the eyes seem off? Is that hair color right? Did they forget something on the outfit?